A longtime Phoenix police officer who impressed community members as a finalist for Spokane’s police ombudsman job will now oversee Internal Affairs.
Jacquelyn MacConnell, who works as a commander at the Camp Verde Marshal’s Office, will begin serving as the Spokane Police Department’s director of strategic initiatives at the end of January, pending City Council confirmation.
She will oversee training, internal investigations and policy review and analysis.
Assistant Chief Justin Lundgren said the goal is to have a person who’s familiar with uses of force and other critical incidents be able to make policy and training changes and recommendations seamlessly.
“We’ll be incorporating what we learn from what’s actually happening in real time throughout the agency into our training,” Lundgren said.
The job is a civilian position formerly held by Tim Schwering, who left the post nearly a year ago to attend the police academy. After graduating from the academy in June, Schwering made the choice to remain a rookie cop.
Brian Coddington, spokesman for Mayor David Condon, said the strategic initiatives position has been vacant since then, though the city didn’t begin searching for Schwering’s replacement until after Chief Craig Meidl’s appointment was confirmed in mid-October.
MacConnell said she kept an eye on local jobs after interim ombudsman Bart Logue was offered a permanent position earlier this year. She and her family have been hoping to relocate to Spokane for some time.
“I’m humbled at the fact that I was hired for the job, and I’m very much looking forward to serving the city of Spokane and its residents,” she said.
Lundgren said he was part of a panel that interviewed four finalists for the job, chosen from among more than two dozen applicants. He said department leaders were impressed with MacConnell’s background, which includes time in both internal affairs and training.
In Phoenix, MacConnell spent most of her career working in largely Hispanic precincts, she said, and started a program to teach officers basic Spanish. She also founded the nonprofit Angels on Patrol, which helps children and families identified by police officers who have been abused or are in extreme need.
She left the department in 2014 after more than 20 years, retiring as an acting bureau commander.
Coddington said Condon selected MacConnell in part because of her extensive experience outside of Spokane.
“It’s a nice balance with the command staff that’s already in place,” Coddington said.
In interviews for police ombudsman, MacConnell earned praise from community members and elected officials following a series of interviews and public forums.
“I remember everybody saying we really need to hire her as well as Bart,” said council President Ben Stuckart. He said he hasn’t seen her confirmation on the City Council’s agenda yet, but anticipates she’ll be easily confirmed within the next few weeks.
Schwering oversaw implementation of the department’s body camera program and substantial policy and training changes as the result of a Department of Justice review in 2014.
Reviewing policies, including the department’s still-incomplete body camera policy, will be part of MacConnell’s job, but since the body camera program is already running and the Department of Justice reforms are mostly done, Lundgren said those issues should occupy less of her time than they did Schwering’s.
MacConnell will be paid $99,618, Coddington said.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.